It started as a goal that I gave myself 5 years to complete – and I did it in a little over 4!
Right before my 26th birthday, I set out to run my very first marathon to commemorate living my first quarter of a century on earth. [Almost] immediately after completing my first race [the 2007 Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco], I figured, why not try to run 5 total marathons before my 30th birthday [and then maybe I’ll decide to quit after that?].
Well, on Sunday, December 5th, I crossed the finish line at the 28th annual California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA in 4 hours 20 minutes and 6 seconds, thus effectively crossing this long-term goal of mine off of my “life to-do list”. I’m officially a “marathoner”, which is an identity that I find a bit of a challenge for me to fully embrace, but is one that I am nevertheless proud of. Sure, my pace across each of my 26.2 milers have fluctuated a bit since October of 2007, but then again, my life has gone through some of its own “rolling hills”, ups and downs, some… well, challenges, but isn’t that what life is all about? To look back and say that I was able to complete these races strong and largely injury-free, how could I not be proud?
Sunday’s race was most definitely a challenge, but I had such a great time on the course. Running alongside of one of my best friends, Derek Brookmeyer, for his inaugural marathon was so special and oh-so-fun. We high-fived each other at every mile marker until we got separated somewhere between miles 10 + 11. He was definitely more prepared than I was seeing as though a 2 week hiatus from running [and exercise in general] while I was overseas in Spain prevented me from securing a solid enough of a base to feel confident that I could finish in a better time that my best finish times thus far [4:07:09 and 4:10:20].
I set out to run the race and have fun in the process and I accomplished both. Sure it wasn’t my best time, but it wasn’t my worst, and given my lackluster training, well… I’m proud. My goal is now complete.
Now, have I decided to hang up my running shoes and retire from the sport altogether? Not quite…. :)
I already have my sights on running the 2011 SF Marathon next July – my 3rd time running the race – with the hopes of finishing in under 4hrs. With adequate training, a good diet, a determined focus and a renewed sense of motivation [thank you Derek + Dave for continuing to inspire me!], I know I can do it. And I’ll certainly have me some fun in the process!
To end with an inspiring quote by Bill Bowerman, American track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc. He says, “the real purpose of running isn’t to win a race; it’s to test the limits of the human heart.” I couldn’t agree more.